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The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on racism and anti-Roma discrimination is the focus of the "Discrimination and Roma Community 2021 Annual Report". [editar]

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano presented its 17th Report in Seville on 15th December.

15/12/2021
FSG

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The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on racism and anti-Roma discrimination is the focus of the
  • This year's report presents 364 discrimination cases collected by the FSG in the previous year across Spain, as well as the most recent developments, good practices, legal precedents and strategic litigation that the FSG has undertaken in the matter of discrimination.
  • The presentation was also attended by institutional representatives, political parties, state security forces and the Public Prosecutor's Office, representatives of the State Council of the Roma Community, members of NGOs and other stakeholders.

The COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for discrimination against Roma people

During her speech, Sara Giménez, president of the FSG, concluded: "the pandemic has provided a new pretext for the rise of anti-Roma discourse, linking Roma people to the transmission of the virus and the lack of compliance with health measures, generating, in turn, both hatred and discrimination. Likewise, the State of Alarm that was decreed and the pandemic itself, have conditioned the ways in which discrimination is exercised, leading to an increasing number of cases in the police sphere, as well as in access to goods and services. This is the main reason why this Annual Report has been devoted to the examination of this phenomenon and proposes the analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the growth of discriminatory attitudes against Roma people and, more importantly, the personal and collective impact of these acts among Roma families themselves".

During the opening of the conference, Isidro Rodríguez, Director General of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, recalled "the importance of having a Comprehensive Equality Law that protects and compensates victims of discrimination and an Action Plan against Racism". 

Patricia Bezunartea, General Director of Family Diversity and Social Services at the Ministry of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda, Rita Bosaho, General Director of Equal Treatment and Ethnic-Racial Diversity at the Ministry of Equality and Francisco José Vidal Mazo, General Director of Social Services at the Ministry of Equality, Social Policies and Reconciliation of the Andalusian Regional Government, also took part in the opening of the presentation.

 

Registered 364 cases of discrimination

The report includes 364 cases of discrimination and antigypsyism registered and assisted by the FSG in its role as coordinator of the Service for Assistance and Guidance to Victims of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination and from the Calí, for the Equality of Roma Women programme.

The FSG registered cases are found in areas such as Communication, involving bad practices in the media and the internet, with 129 cases; Social networks, with 29 cases; Employment, with 28 cases; Access to goods and services, with 64 cases; Police services, with 25 cases; Education, with 27 cases; Housing, with 31 cases; Health, with 8 cases; and Others (including the most extreme cases of hate crimes), with 23 cases.

The profile of the victims shows that discrimination mainly affects young Roma between 16 and 30 years old and women, who account for 148 of the 257 victims identified.

One of the cases described in the report, which occurred in Santoña, is a good example of the impact of discrimination. It involves hate speech through WhatsApp audios in which Roma people were accused of deliberately spreading the virus. During the presentation event, one person reported that he witnessed numerous acts of discrimination and anti-Roma hostility as a result of the dissemination of these audios. Other similar cases linked to the pandemic were also presented (in Seville in the neighbourhood of Las Tres Mil viviendas, Badajoz, Barcelona, etc.).

 

Conclusions

Based on the collected cases, the Report presents some conclusions and recommendations for the Spanish state authorities to improve the response to discrimination and antigypsyism, adopting an intersectional approach:

- The approval of the Comprehensive Bill for equal treatment and non-discrimination that is currently being processed in Congress.

- The approval, during the course of 2022, of a State Action Plan against Racism, in application of the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan for 2020-2025 and following the guidelines provided by the European Commission.

- Training in Anti-discrimination Law and the Victims' Statute for all key stakeholders in this field: the Judiciary, the Prosecutor's Office, the Lawyers' Office and the State Security Forces and Corps.

- The provision of enough resources to all institutions dedicated to the fight against racial or ethnic discrimination.

- The establishment and provision of adequate resources to specialised programmes of comprehensive support to Roma women, especially the most vulnerable ones, with a view to empowering them to exercise their rights in the face of intersectional discrimination and gender-based violence, to improve their academic and professional training, to join the labour market, to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, and to overcome traditional gender roles.


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